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Airbus to ditch lithium-ion batteries – for now

Airbus is telling airlines that its new A350 will use nickel-cadmium instead of lithium-ion batteries until questions about lithium-ion batteries have been resolved. The Airbus A350 should debut late next year.

By Philip LeBeauCNBC Auto and Airline Industry Reporter / February 15, 2013

Airbus employees work in the cockpit section of an A350 Airbus airplane at the Airbus facility in Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint-Nazaire, western France, in December. Airbus says it will use nickel-cadmium batteries in the new A350 until lithium-ion batteries are shown to be reliable.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters/File

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Airbus has started informing airlines that have ordered the new A350 that the new plane will have Nickel-Cadmium batteries, rather than lithium-ion batteries, the European plane maker told CNBC Thursday.

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Airbus said the move is based entirely on reducing uncertainty in the program schedule -- not due to any safety concerns.

Airbus will continue working on eventually using lithium-ion batteries in A350 models, but until questions about the reliability of those batteries are resolved, the European plane maker will use nickel-cadmium batteries.

The plane maker is on track on deliver the A350 late next year. The lithium-ion batteries, used to power Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, are the subject of a probe after technical problems at two of the planes prompted regulators worldwide grounded entire the fleet of 50 planes last month.

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